PhotoView 360 Tips and Tricks #1


Many of you may have used this new tool from SolidWorks. It has been available since the beta program for SOLIDWORKS 2009.  It is available to those who have a license of PhotoWorks. PhotoView 360 is targeted at quick and easy renderings. Open your SOLIDWORKS file in PhotoView 360 and it will bring in the materials applied to your SOLIDWORKS models. Then just choose an environment and render. It really is that easy.

But, what if you want to do something a little more custom? Due to the fact that PhotoView 360 is a new direction for SOLIDWORKS rendering, as well as a new release, it has limited customization options. PhotoWorks is still the work horse for heavily customized renderings. In PhotoView 360, you can select a material and drag it onto a part. But, the selection of materials is the same as the SOLIDWORKS material database. This presented me with a problem, as I wanted to create a Christmas scene. I had modeled a Snow Globe in SOLIDWORKS and wanted to render it on a Christmas themed cloth.

christmas material

Since there is no way currently to select a custom material or import a texture as a material, I browsed to the install directory to see if the materials were available in a recognizable format. Sure enough, there is a material directory located at:

“C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp\PhotoView 360\resrc\presets\materials\”.

Under “material” is a “fabric” folder. I looked through there and noticed that for every material listed in PhotoView 360 there was a texture and bump map. The texture holds the image or color information and the bump map is a file that helps PhotoView 360 give depth to the texture. You can learn more about bump maps here.

I tried to add my own file Christmas_Fabric.png and Christmas_Fabric_bump.png to the folder, but they were not recognized in PhotoView 360. I wasn’t going down that easy. I then decided to rename my files so that PhotoView 360 would have to try to read them. It worked perfect! Here is what you need to do to use your own texture in PhotoView 360. I chose to replace cottonwhite.png with my file, Christmas_Fabric.png

  1. Browse to “C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp\PhotoView 360\resrc\presets\materials\fabric”
  2. Rename cottonwhite.png to cottonwhite_original.png
  3. Copy your “texture.png” file into the fabric folder.
  4. Rename your file to cottonwhite.png.

Open PhotoView 360 and drag the white cotton material from the fabric/cloth flyout. It should look like your material. You can also change the scale of your texture. Turn on the select tool in PhotoView and select the object that has your cloth on it. Now that the object is selected, go to the advanced tab in the material flyout. Now you can use the “texture scale multiplier” to change the scale of your texture. Additionally, you could make your own bump map, if you are really creative.